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The nature of the allegations about Travolta puts him in a different _ and better _ position than Gibson, said Matthew Le Veque, an associate professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Gibson, who was caught on leaked recordings engaging in racist and sexist rants, had actually offended a lot of moviegoers by the time “The Beaver” was released, Le Veque said. The legal fight limited Gibson’s ability to do press for the film, but Travolta’s situation hasn’t gotten to that point, he said.

John Travolta’s side is doing a very good job of casting doubt on the accusers’ story,” he said.

Travolta’s career has seen its share of struggles, including the 2009 death of his son Jett, as well as comebacks. He has two other film projects in the works after “Savages,” making it unlikely he’ll disappear from the public eye or from venues where uncomfortable questions will be asked.

“Moviegoers think they have their personal relationship with the talent that’s based on what’s on screen,” said Marich, adding they hold movie stars in a different esteem.

“They don’t expect Hollywood figures to be saints,” he said.

Oliver Stone agrees.

“He’s fun to watch, and he enjoyed it,” the director said of his star. “To me, a movie is about the fun you have. It doesn’t matter, your personal history. Somebody can be a son of a bitch, and I know a few, but if you enjoy the movie, you enjoy the movie.”


AP Movie Writer David Germain contributed to this story.